New regional Murray-Darling Basin Authority offices part of push for decentralisation

Posted 31 May 2017

OfficeThe Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) is relocating some of its staff to regional areas in an effort to better understand the impact of its policies. 

On June 1 the MDBA will open a regional office in Wodonga; within the next two years, about 30 staff will move from Canberra into regional offices located in Wodonga, Toowoomba and Adelaide.

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Barnaby Joyce said the move is part of the government’s wider efforts to decentralise its departments and establish a presence in regional areas. 

“Having policy, program and corporate staff working from regional centres will improve the MDBA’s understanding of the socio-economic impacts water policies and programs have on people in basin communities to deliver better outcomes,” he said. 

“It will also allow greater collaboration between state governments, non-government organisations, and individuals who live in Murray-Darling Basin communities who understand its rivers and creeks better than anyone.

“Basing roles like this in regional Australia will, in the long term, strengthen well-paid job prospects for locals, build skills, boost local economies and contribute to the fabric of vibrant regional communities.”

Senator for Victoria Bridget McKenzie welcomed the relocation of staff to Wodonga, where they will initially be co-located with staff from the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. 

“Across northern Victoria I have regularly heard there is room for improvement in the MDBA’s communication and collaboration with local communities,” she said. 

“All four of the MDBA staff who will be working from Wodonga from June 1 have volunteered to relocate and are excited by the prospect of working more closely with the local community. These staff will be out and about listening to stakeholders and explaining their work.”
 
Planning for MDBA offices in Toowoomba and Adelaide is well underway, and both offices will be staffed from early June.